NZ Camp 2013 – Home!
After an amazing 8 days in New Zealand our grade 6 students have returned.
Before we departed, we sat around on the floor at Queenstown airport and the students all shared their feelings on their journey. “Life Changing”, “Awesome”, “Unbelievable” were just some of the words they used.
Congratulations to all the people involved in the 5th Grade 6 International Camp! It was another outstanding success!
NZ Camp 2013 – Wanaka
The last full day in New Zealand saw us take a leisurely drive about 100km down the road to the beautiful town of Wanaka.
It was here we found Puzzling World. Packed with more puzzles and brain bending attractions than you could imagine, we had a great time wandering around this amazing place. One of the highlights of Puzzling World is the tilt shift room. Check out this video of Mr Holt, Mrs Barnes & Brandon to see what we mean….
NZ Camp 2013 – Funyak Safari
The Funyak Safari was the most eagerly awaited part of our trip by some and probably the most nerve racking. A few of us were very challenged by the thought of this activity, running water, wilderness and the unknown.
The day was wet, not just water but heavy rain, the river was swollen with silt leaden water rapidly making its way down the Dart river to Lake Wakatipu. The experienced Funyaks team decided it was best, with our experience and in the conditions, to join 3 kayaks together to forge ahead on our journey paddling down the Dart River.
Once again spectacular scenery ensured we were all gobsmacked as we navigated our way back towards base camp. Mountains, snow, waterfalls, a gorge trek, yummy lunch, river travel, rain, flora and fauna and wet weather gear and a massive beech tree across our road out, featured in our day.
Meanwhile back at camp the intrepid kitchen team were slaving away preparing a scrumptious repast for the return of the wearied adventurers. Thanks Sharon, Sue and Lisa! Many fears were faced, stared down and conquered. Well done everyone the Dart River team loved working with us and we DID IT!
NZ Camp Day 5 – Coronet Peak
After all the excitement on the Shotover River we loaded up and made for higher ground, much higher ground. With an altitude of 1,649m above sea level we ventured up the side of the mountains outside Queenstown to the ski resort of Coronet Peak. Due to the early end to the snow season in New Zealand and the heavy rain on Monday, there was not a great deal of snow left on the ground for our intrepid tobboganers! Armed with cardboard boxes and the like, the students and some of the parents took part in throwing themselves down the mountain.
After an hour or so of downhill daredevil exploits we gathered the troops ready to drive 20km for a well earned lunch in Arrowtown.
NZ Camp 2013 – Shotover Jet
Twin 350HP engines propelled us down the Shotover river, narrowly missing the rocks on either side. With a wind chill factor of about -10 degrees you would think we would have been freezing but I can assure you that with the adrenaline coursing through our veins the cold was not a problem.
Next stop, Arrowtown…
NZ Camp 2013 – Cultural Experience
It’s Tuesday night and it’s hard to believe we have done so much the last few days!
Tonight we travelled up the Gondola to see the traditional Maori Haka performed. After “Chief Jason” passed the test to see if we were friend or foe, 2 Maori men and 4 Maori ladies (or maidens), performed and explained the meaning of not just the Haka but 4 or 5 other traditional dances.
At one point our own maidens were asked to get up on stage and perform right before our own warriors then performed the Haka.
After the Cultural Experience we all sat down for an amazing dinner in the skyline restaurant. The view truly has to be seen to be believed. Just imagine sitting down to dinner with this in front of you…
NZ Camp 2013 – School Visit
What a fantastic visit to our friends at Remarkables Primary School. They were so prepared for us and made us very welcome. Students buddied up and were shown around this remarkable school!! Pardon the pun! They take their shoes off too! We joined in two lessons and then gave them a lesson on how to play Australian Rules. Mr Parsons had to be the umpire as he was the best at whistling, he did a great job! We better take a whistle for our next visit.
We asked lots of questions. They have a beautiful school like us and they also have the most amazing views from their classrooms of Lake Wakatipu. It is so cold even at this time of year that if you get in the water you would have hyperthermia in 30 mins as the water is only 5 degrees.
Tommorrow will see us hit the shotover river with 700hp of jetboat under our backsides!
NZ Camp 2013 – Walter Peak Farm
Day 3 saw us have a look around central Queenstown for the morning before departing on the TSS Earnslaw for a 45 minute cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Farm.The weather scared a few of the crew into having a seasickness tablet before getting aboard and luckily we all made it in one piece!
Upon arrival at Walter Peak Farm, we were treated to an amazing buffet lunch with some of the finest NZ Lamb & Pork on offer. The weather deteriated from then on but wemade our way accross to the shearing shed for a shearing demonstration and history lesson on the sheep industry in New Zealand. After the shearing the farmer demonstratedsome of his dog handling skills with a small mob of sheep.
Our trip back across the lake was a lot more pleasent (and quicker) due to the strong tail wind.
We wound the night out with 18 holes of championship Mini Golf (Andrew Oxley the champion with 76 off the stick) and another roast dinner at the lodge.
Looking forward to the school visit & Haka tomorrow…..
NZ Camp 2013 – Ziptrek
After a hectic morning racing the luge carts down the side of Gondola Hill just out of Queenstown, our crew split into 3 groups and moved on to the Ziptrek.
Strapping into our harnesses and doning our safety helmets, we prepared to “Zip” 6 times, between the amazing Douglas Fir trees about 10m above the forest floor. There were a few very nervous students (and a couple of parents) before we took that first plunge into the forest canopy.
One by one, our group zipped off to the next treehouse some 150m through the forest. At the first treehouse we heard from our guides about sustainability and the impact we, the human, are having on our planet. At each treehouse after that we heard more amazing facts about the Queenstown area including the Maori legend of the Giant whose heart still beats at the bottom of Lake Wakatipu, causing it to rise and fall some 15cm each day.
After a demo by one of our fearless guides on the art of getting upside down on the zipline and also how to avoid the dreaded “dead possum” position, most of us plucked up the courage to give it a go. It has to be said that the first person get upside down on the zipline, and show all the boys how it is done, was Louise. Well done Lou, you were fantastic!
For me, to see the students overcome fears and challenge themselves to new limits was by far the best part of the whole experience for me. It is such an honour to be part of this amazing experience with all the grade 6 kids and the staff from LBPS.
NZ Camp 2013 – The Luge
Feeling pretty confident now that I’d overtaken my first challenger, sports captain Max, I now had the school captain, Brando in my sights. He’d inched a little further ahead as my attention was diverted to Max’s collision with the wall, but I was sure my time was to come.
As I let the brake out, my luge lurched over the ledge, caught a little air and surged forward so that Brando and I rounded the second corner, almost neck and neck. The third corner was rapidly approaching and I saw my opportunity to overtake. A deft swerve to the left, a duck to the right, and I flew past a very surprised Brando. Oh no, he was being beaten by a “girl”!!!
Brando and Max may not agree, but as the adult I think I have final say… I definitely finished a few hundred metres (maybe just a few metres) in front of the boys. My luge ground to a halt and Max flew into the empty luge lane beside me, jumped out quickly and believed that the win was his because he was out of the luge first.
In all honesty, it wasn’t the grand prix final between Max, Brando and I that was the highlight of the luge. Without a doubt it was the stunning scenery. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to race down the side of a mountain overlooking snowcapped mountain peaks surrounding the magnificent aquamarine waters of Lake Wakatipu.
Brandon burning rubber…